Your friends and family keep telling you that your cookies are amazing and that you should sell them online. So, you start compiling recipes and researching how to start an eCommerce business. You’ve likely discovered that knowing how to sell food online is more complicated than meets the eye.
Running a cookie business includes getting kitchen equipment, completing paperwork, establishing a marketing plan, and much more. Once you have these business basics in place, it’s easier to find buyers of your goodies.
Keep reading to learn the essentials of this oh-so-sweet business model.
Selling Cookies Online
Selling your own cookies online is a great way to make money while doing what you love. You can start by offering a few homemade products that customers devour and share with their friends. Over time, as you perfect your recipes, you can turn them into a collective brand that generates profit.
Selling DTC food in the cookie niche is a smart move. There is enough demand for numerous sellers to be profitable, yet not so much that customers get overwhelmed by options. Growing consumer trends like paleo, vegan, and keto also generate their own demand for these dietary sub-niches.
Cookies are also incredibly customizable and largely shelf-stable, which makes them an ideal product to sell online. You can ship them almost anywhere with little to no risk of melting, cracking, or breaking.
Selling cookies online is easy to do once you know what’s expected of food business owners. Let’s look at how to get this type of eCommerce business started.
Can You Sell Cookies Online?
Yes, you absolutely can sell cookies online! The same cookies that your spouse, children, and friends love can be known state- or even nationwide.
Cookies can be sold online everywhere from Amazon and Etsy to mom-and-pop websites and online marketplaces. You can list your cookies for sale in multiple areas. It’s simply important to know where your ideal audience hangs out, so you aren’t wasting time or marketing resources.
BlueCart’s eCommerce platform is an ideal tool with which to sell your cookies. You can easily and quickly update your entire product catalog with just a few clicks of your mouse. Book a demo today to learn about how our software can help your business.
There are regulations every food-producing business must adhere to. The primary ones include cottage food laws, which dictate health, safety, and zoning requirements.
Before you hurry to list your delectable goods online, there’s quite a bit of preparation involved. Keep reading to learn what’s needed to set up your cookie kingdom.
Selling Homemade Cookies Online
In addition to the cookies themselves, there’s more to selling sweets than you may think. Most of the initial hurdles to overcome include showing the government that all of your dealings are above-board and you make food safely.
With some extra money and dedicated work, you can have a cookie business up and running in a short period of time. Here is how to sell baked goods online:
- Get your business paperwork in order. Filling out paperwork isn’t the fun part of starting a business, but it must be done. The paperwork you need to complete includes an eCommerce business license, zoning forms, and a food handling certificate. Depending on your business model, you may also want to research how to get a wholesale license. If you're making the offline-to-online transition (o2o), you may have some or all of this paperwork done already. Double-check to make sure you don't miss anything.
- Obtain insurance. It’s easy to think nothing bad will ever befall your business, but it’s more important to exercise wisdom. Getting eCommerce business insurance protects you against a variety of mishaps. Such incidents can include natural disasters, embezzlement, malfunctioning kitchen equipment, and consumer injury.
- Set up a bank account. It’s important to keep all of your business’s financial records in one place. Research the best banks for eCommerce business so you have a clear idea of who to trust with your money.
- Decide what kind of cookies you want to make. Even if you expand your product line later on, the first cookies listed on your site are what customers will judge your business by. It’s a good idea to put cookies with your best recipes and phenomenal pictures up first.
- Create your eCommerce business plan. Whether you want to sell part-time or turn your passion for sweets into a full-time business, you need a written plan. Your business plan doesn’t need to be complex to be effective. It should include clear information about your target audience, merchandise inventory, marketing and sales plan, funding sources, and projected sales.
- Get kitchen equipment. It goes without saying, but baking cookies requires the right tools. If you’re baking out of your home, you can use the equipment already there. This includes your oven, cooling racks, baking sheets, and mixers. As you expand, you’ll want to consider adding more equipment, like dedicated refrigerators and icing tools.
- Develop your product catalog. Cookies are a fantastic food product to sell because there’s always a need for more treats. This makes it easier to perfect your eCommerce catalog design because you know what customers want more of. Use your most popular products to create cookie bundles and buy-one-get-one (BOGO) offers. BlueCart offers a robust and easy-to-use digital catalog tool and an integrated email promotions function.
- Invest in labeling and packaging. Every online business needs eCommerce packaging that suits products and abides by current laws. Your cookies must adhere to the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) which dictates how consumer products must be labeled. As your cookie business expands, you’ll also need to invest in warehouse labels to keep your warehouse organization in tip-top shape.
- Choose shipping options. Since you'll be shipping perishable goods, expedited shipping will likely be your best option. However, consider the costs of various shipping methods and timelines.
- Create a marketing and sales plan. As tasty as cookies are, they are not going to sell themselves. Develop an eCommerce marketing strategy that will target the ideal customer your business plan identifies. As your marketing becomes effective, you’ll start to see more traffic to your business via word-of-mouth.
- Make your cookies. Once your business’s structure is in place, the fun part begins--baking cookies! Emphasize quality over quantity when making the first batches of your products. No cookie will ever be perfect, but you must earn consumers’ trust in your sweets. Once they love your desserts, they’ll be back for more! Continue growing your brand by leveraging various B2B marketing strategies.
- Consider selling wholesale. There are dozens of restaurants, businesses, farmers’ markets, and shops that accept wholesale goods. Once you learn how to become a wholesaler, you can generate an additional revenue stream for your business through a wholesale marketing strategy. You can create even more income streams with complementary products, such as if you sell wine online.
That’s How The Cookie Crumbles
Combining your favorite recipes with the knowledge of how to sell products online is challenging, but has incredible payoffs. You can also expand your product line through cross selling and selling coffee online. It’s important to take your time and not overshoot sales goals, especially when you have a limited budget to start with.
Remember to hire employees as your business grows, like someone who is skilled at eCommerce accounting. Being phenomenal at baking cookies doesn’t mean you can or should wear all the other hats of your business. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and your cookies will be world-famous before you know it.
If your cookies are selling well, consider expanding your food and drink business. Selling liquor online, selling alcohol online, and learning how to sell beer online or sell whiskey online are each worth looking into.
Frequently Asked Questions About Selling Homemade Cookies Online
Selling cookies online is a fun, creative way to make money from home. So, how can you make it worth your while? We looked at some commonly asked questions and provided our answers below:
How much do homemade cookies sell for?
A single homemade cookie tends to sell for about $3-4, and cookies by the dozen sell for anywhere between $10-25. Prices depend on demand, ingredient availability, competitor pricing, and consumers’ perceptions of your cookies.
How do you price cookies to sell?
When pricing your cookies, you should account for ingredient cost, branding, cookie size, and how much similar cookies go for. The typical cookie business sells their baked goods with a profit margin of 25-30%.
Price your sweets according to market demand and what customers would be willing to pay for similar cookies. If you haven’t sold cookies before, take a look at cookie pricing in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. These are good sources of customer-friendly pricing information.
If you sell mega-sized cookies, you can charge $5-6 per cookie, but this depends on your company branding. Focus on offering more in value than you ask in price, and you’ll be in great shape.
Is a cookie business profitable?
Yes, a cookie business can be profitable if customers love your cookies and you have a profitable business model. It helps to have a proven marketing strategy too, so you can generate consistent demand and keep people coming back for more.
Advantages of a cookie business include the low startup costs, existing demand for desserts, and flexibility in selling both offline and online. Disadvantages include extensive health code requirements, a crowded seller’s market, and the need for constant production.
Cookie businesses need to offer a unique product at an excellent price point to be noticed in today’s market. As long as your business hits these targets, there is immense room with which to become profitable.